Time spirit
How to watch trends

Every year Dutch sector organizations in flowers and plants, bulbs and trees and gardening present new green trends based on the zeitgeist or time spirit. Why and how do they do this? Esther de Waard (who guides the process on behalf of the Flower Council of Holland) and trend watcher Aafje Nijman tell us.

Trends of value and style

“Dutch sector organizations present these trends to show that flowers, plants, bulbs, trees and perennials fit perfectly into the spirit of the times,” Esther says. “Trends apply to the media’s needs. Journalists, bloggers and vloggers frequently ask us how green is developing. Trends help us keep ornamental plants at the forefront of consumers’ minds. They also help us consistently visualise what we want to communicate about the products. Thus, developing value trends and style trends creates a visual language which connects the product to the taste of our target group. Our photos, videos and texts have the power to make people look at flowers and plants in a different, trendy way.”

Theory and feelings

“Trend watching needs rationality and a theoretical basis,” says Aafje. “But I couldn’t do it without my intuition. My analysis creates a framework within which to design solutions for the next two years to be used by the participants in the project.

The process of green trend watching starts with collecting paper and online information about developments in demographics, economics, politics, society, ecology and techniques. We also look at arts, music, etc. Certain tv-shows remain popular. Why? What are their core values? What do we do when seeking security and consolation? Why does everything, including baking a cake, turn into a competition? Which bloggers are hip? Why?

There lies the time spirit. Much of what we see is applicable worldwide. But of course there are differences between Paris and the Little House on the Prairie.

It’s useless to oppose trends when they are not to your liking. It’s like opposing a storm. You’d better prepare for the storm so that it won’t ruin your business.”

The 2018 green trends

Time spirit: Trial and error. In a changing world you’ll fail if you don’t evolve. People seek new ways when the old systems seem obsolete. And people will find these ways. This is a positive feeling in a world full of risks, leading to four value trends:

Controlled chaos: people search for order in their chaotic world by withdrawing, interpreting and changing their consumption patterns. ‘What do I need?’ is a vital question. Dried flowers could very well have a comeback. Popular colours might be brown or grey.

Patch world: Today’s world is like a collage with crossovers that don’t seem logical. Power is redistributed. Old structures collapse. At the same time activism and facets of a culture go hand in hand but in new forms. Which means you can use flowers and plants in unexpected combinations.

Bubblicious means people can afford to live in their own (digital) bubble with self-censored news. Products therefore have to prove themselves as being worthy, day after day.

Tabula rasa, new ethics developing at the centre of the discussion with room for harmony and tenderness accompanied by tender and open flowers.

Ruler swift, power is fleeting when people don’t know who is in power anymore, Trump or Google? Everyone is fighting for freedom and the right to say virtually anything. In a world like that you need flowers and plants with which to make a statement.

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